Readers write: Prison program, violence in film

Letters to the editor for the Dec. 19, 2016 weekly magazine.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Inmates serving time at San Quentin prison, including Inmate Chris Schuhmacher (l.), learn how to code as part of The Last Mile program on Sept. 27, 2016 in San Quentin, California.

Prison program

As a man who got incarcerated with a seventh-grade education and no positive life skills, I was inspired by the Nov. 28 cover story, “The prison coders.” It is great to know that there are people who understand that, if given the chance, prisoners can and will produce in a society that locks them up and expects them to return to prison after they’re released. 

Computer coding classes for prisoners are a great tool to help them manage in a world where computer skills are becoming more necessary. It would be nice if every state took advantage of this program.

Jason Renard Walker

Clements Unit, Amarillo, Texas

I would like to send congratulations on the superb story on the San Quentin coding program (“The prison coders”). As a volunteer tutor at the prison, I am aware of the wonderful job The Last Mile has done and, in the Digital Age, how essential that kind of training is for inmates going out on parole. Thanks to you for depicting the nuances and complications of prison life so accurately. 

As a teacher, I am starting a course at the University of California, Berkeley/Osher Lifelong Learning Institute about “exploring justice.” The mission is to inform our older students about the transitions happening in our incarceration and justice systems. The article is perfect for this purpose. 

Gloria Neumeier

Kentfield, Calif.

Violence in film

Hollywood is a religion of violence. The movie “Hacksaw Ridge” ( review) is a prime example. “Hacksaw Ridge” displays extremely graphic war violence in close-up, slow-motion details. 

What we feed our minds shapes our minds. Hollywood is waging war on civilized entertainment. We need standards, order, and restraint in society and in entertainment.

Robert Shaw

Deland, Fla.

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